By: Victor Trammell
An 11-year-old St. Louis, Missouri boy is making a difference in his community by encouraging literacy among other black boys around his age.
Sidney Keys III (pictured) is the founder of Books N Bros LLC., a reading club, which helps makes literacy fun and innovative for Sidney and his peers. He also encourages the literary consumption of books that are themed for children who look like him. This is a great way to get black children interested in reading.
Sidney recently did a radio interview on “St. Louis on the Air” to promote his commendable new reading venture. “Every time I go to the library at my school, there aren’t many African-American literature books there,” Sidney said in his radio interview.
However, a visit to a black-themed bookstore called EyeSeeMe in University City, Missouri changed things for Sidney.
Behind every successful, one-of-a-kind child, there’s a supportive parent who is helping to pave the way for that child’s future goals. Winnie Caldwell, Sidney’s mother, shot a cell phone video of her son reading inside of EyeSeeMe in August of 2016. The video quickly received about 62,000 views on the internet.
Caldwell accompanied her son at his recent radio interview and spoke about her experiences as she’s witnessed him fulfilling his dreams.
“You get to a point when he is 11 years old and it was so shocking for him to relate to someone on the cover in a positive aspect rather than it be some negative urban story we see a lot,” Caldwell said on the radio show. “I would like to make sure he sees himself in being whatever he can be,” she continued.
Caldwell also said she helped her son with research prior to the foundation of Books N Bros. Their research helped them realize that black boys in the 8-10-year-old age bracket were trailing behind their black girl counterparts in the reading department. This is exactly the target group of black boys that Books N Bros is trying to reach today.
It’s great to see a black family come together for the cause of bettering their community through the promotion of literacy.